Exact arbitrage, well-diversified portfolios and asset pricing in large markets

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In a model of a nancial market with an atomless continuum of assets, we give a precise and rigorous meaning to the intuitive idea of a \well-diversi ed' portfolio and to a notion of \exact arbitrage'. We show this notion to be necessary and su cient for an APT pricing formula to hold, to be strictly weaker than the more conventional notion of \asymptotic arbitrage', and to have novel implications for the continuity of the cost functional as well as for various versions of APT asset pricing. We further justify the idealized measure-theoretic setting in terms of a pricing formula based on \essential' risk, one of the three components of a tri-variate decomposition of an asset's rate of return, and based on a speci c index portfolio constructed from endogenously extracted factors and factor loadings. Our choice of factors is also shown to satisfy an optimality property that the rst m factors always provide the best approximation. We illustrate how the concepts and results translate to markets with a large but nite number of assets, and relate to previous work.


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